Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

The Tourist; Olen Steinhauer

Haven’t I read this book before? Or didn’t I see a movie, The American, with George Clooney? You know, depressed assassin? Thinking about suicide? In some villa along the Mediterranean or is it the Adriatic? Some enigmatic handler, and who do you trust? And then The Tourist swerves off in another direction and while this particular thread of plot is new, it still seems vintage LeCarre, only maybe a little less solid information. Lots of jumping from place to place with little motivation, lots of shifts in trust, and betrayals.

While I like books where reality keeps shifting, this one had a few too many shifts for me. I have a feeling that spying is a lot less about fast cars and shooting someone so they won’t give away a secret, and lot more about the dull, painstaking work of stitching together swatches of information in ways that form a meaningful pattern, trying hard not to create patterns that don’t exist. I imagine that there is a big problem today with the huge volume of information, sifting through to figure out what matters, and what is mere distraction.

This book is a good airplane read, holds the interest, but give me LeCarre for the grim grey world of spies and their work any day.

December 16, 2011 - Posted by | Adventure, Books, Bureaucracy, Character, Crime, ExPat Life, Fiction, Travel, Work Related Issues


  1. Oh no! I loved this book! And the one after it. It *is* confusing, but in a good way I thought …

    Comment by adiamondinsunlight | December 16, 2011 | Reply

  2. I wasn’t confused as much as annoyed. I didn’t think he supported some of his assumptions or adequately motivated his characters. We just have to agree to disagree on this one (sigh) I still prefer LeCarre’.

    Comment by intlxpatr | December 16, 2011 | Reply

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